NLNG Says Claims By NEITI That $11.6bn Was Not Remitted To The Federation Account Cannot Be True
Nigeria LNG Limited’s (NLNG) has dismissed the claims by the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) that government’s $11.6 billion dividends from the earnings of the incorporated joint venture was not remitted to the federation’s account.
The company also clarified that it had neither equity stake nor investment role in the development of a dry dock in Badagry area of Lagos, and appealed to those agitating for the location of the project to be properly guided with valid information.
Spokesman of the company, Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, declared in a statement that “NLNG remains responsible to its shareholders and pays dividends to them according to the shareholding structure.”
His statement came in response to media reports referring to a statement by NEITI that NLNG has not remitted about $11.6billion (N2.32trillion) to the Federation Account.
NEITI Executive Secretary, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, had reiterated in a report by the agency that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had yet to remit the $11.6 billion, dividend to the Federation Account from the exports by the NLNG in which the national oil company holds overriding 49 percent non-operating interest.
NNPC has been consistent with denials of the torrents of fraud allegations by NEITI, but the current allegations about NNPC appears to have dragged the credibility of the operator and other foreign multinational partners into the mud.
“For the purpose of clarity,” Dr. Eresia-Eke declared, “NLNG wishes to state that the company is owned by four shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented in the shareholders’ structure by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC (49%), Shell Gas BV, SGBV, (25.6%), Total LNG Nigeria Limited (15%), and Eni International (N.A,) N. V. S. a. r. l (10.4%).”
He also emphasized that the company operated by Shell has continued to conduct all its businesses in full compliance with the laws of the country and existing tax regulations, adding that NLNG was championing compliance and meeting all its applicable tax obligations to federal, state and local governments.
“A case in point is NLNG’s payment of $1.6 billion to the Federal Government recently as Company Income Tax and Education Tax for 2014 financial year,” he said.
He pointed out that NLNG supports the principles and objectives of NEITI, in line with its vision to help build a better Nigeria, including the promotion of transparency in payments by extractive industry companies to governments and government-linked entities.
Nigeria LNG remains the most significant arrow-head of the federal government’s continuing efforts to eliminate gas flaring and derive value from the country’s 187 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. Dr. Eresia-Eke also dismissed media reports attributing ownership of the proposed Badagry Dry Dock Project to the company.
He declared that “Nigeria LNG is NOT the owner and is not investing in the building of any dry dock,” adding that the company has no intention of deviating from its core business of gas liquefaction and export to investment in ship maintenance yards. “Nigeria LNG has a singular business focus, namely processing and exporting LNG. It has no interest in investing in a dry dock anywhere in the world.
“The owner of the proposed dry dock in Badagry is a consortium of other Nigerian companies under the name of Badagry Ship Repair and Maritime Engineering Company (BSMEC) and which NLNG is NOT a part of.”
According to him, NLNG’s role in the project “remains, encouraging investors to consider building dry docks in the country to save the nation’s foreign exchange and save local ship owners, like ourselves, the trouble of having to go overseas for dry dock services.”
He also said the company has no powers to determine the location of the dry dock since it has no equity stake in the business. “Nigeria LNG therefore appeals to those who are issuing threats based on wrong information, to review their position in the light of this clarification. Besides, threats can only discourage other investors from coming to the region.”
– Sopuruch Onwuka